The question of how much time and effort it takes to process a traditional expense report is a tough one.
Whatever that number might be, it’s hard to grasp all the pieces that go into processing just one.
But when you pile up the manual reconciliation times, no real-time overview, expense fraud attempts and unhappy employees stuck with filling forms and time taken to get reimbursed, everyone can agree that this a major source of stress and time loss for the entire organisation.
I understood this pain for years as a CFO of Tradeshift. As the company grew faster and faster, so did everyone’s frustration. We lose precious time by compiling expense reports. It was hard to keep track of the increasing trend of people sharing company cards. And at the end of the day it was up to my team to track down missing receipts, and to provide timely monthly financial reports.
While expense tools today are becoming much simpler and smarter by automating the necessary regulatory requirement parts, what is often overlooked when choosing the right one is understanding how organisations today are changing and how workplaces are evolving.
Employees are demanding efficient and modern work processes
A recent study by Deloitte shows that only 28% of millennials feel that their current organisations are making “full use” of their skills. Moreover, research from Office Vibe shows that revenue is up by 150% for companies with engaged employees versus competitors with low engagement levels.
Bureaucratic processes that waste time and prevent people from getting things done, like expense reporting, are slowing down your workforce. Today, millennials don’t want to be micromanaged and find that autonomy is the most valuable company perk, even more important than the size of their pay check.
Increased need for transparency and trust in a modern workplace
Data proves this statement as well. A recent study by TINYpulse found that management transparency is actually the top factor when determining employee happiness.
Most innovative companies today like Google and Netflix trust that the people they hire will end up doing the right thing, so there is no need to enforce strict policies. According to research from the leading consulting firm Bain & Company, employees in those firms are on average 40% more productive as a result.
It’s easier to say goodbye to expense reports
While it’s easy to pick an expense report software today that ticks all the boxes for the finance teams, too many companies today are still leaving out the employee’s perspective.
Thankfully the fast development in business and finance technology are moving things forward for companies everywhere. This enables them to both trust their employees to always do the right thing and still make sure it’s within the policy, set in the most effective way.
For example allowing your employees to easily make a purchase with company funds, but controlled with limits in real-time and reconciliation done instantly. This brings the best of both worlds: a way to keep your staff agile and fast, while at the same time giving companies more control over all their spending to help them save time and money.